The 7 spellings
NOTE: I’ve stopped using these spellings on this site. I found them too difficult to remember when this was the only place I used them (I think it would be no big deal if we used them everywhere), and I found that it left untouched too many words that should obviously be respelled.
This site uses simpler spellings based on those supported by the Spelling Society and added to my own reserch. Included here is a badge you can put on your site if you want to use these spellings—even if it’s just for one post.
Note that I don’t apply these rules in the titles of my posts, for serch-engine-optimization reasons.
Seven Simple Rules for Simpler Spelling
For the following changes (and only werds affected by the following changes), double the consonant after a stressed short vowel, including one-syllable words that end in F, K, L, S, and Z (K is “doubled” as CK).
1. Use simpler alternatives
In a number of cases, two spellings are available and valid or are obvious from changes made to similar werds. Establishing the simpler of the two as the preferred spelling is a first, easy step toward improvement.
- Use American spellings (center, theater, color, mold, fetus, encyclopedia, memorize, check, fulfill, judgment, program, tire).
- Use simpler alternatives where two spellings are valid (adviser, ameba, subpena, glamor).
- Change the remaining -LOGUE spellings to -LOG (dialog, monolog, analog, cataloging).
2. Spell /e/ as E
Respell as E all cases where /e/ is not already spelled E.
- enny, menny, bred, led (metal), red (past tense of read), thretten, deth, steddy, alreddy, fether, welth, werd, werld, ern, lern, serch, agen, agenst, frend, plesure, tresure, trechery
Special cases: ocian, ocianic, sargent
3. Respell EA when it does not have the /ee/ sound
Respell EA whenever it does not make the sound /ee/, /ee ay/, or /ee u/ (plead, create, area).
Respell EA as A when it sounds like /ah/.
- hart, harken, harty, harth
Respell EA as AI when it sounds like /ay/.
- bair, wair, braik, grait, tair
Respell EAU as OE when it sounds like /oh/.
- buroe, platoe, chatoe
Special cases: buty, butiful, yay (for yea), yaa (for yeah)
4. Spell /f/ as F
Respell PH and UGH as F when they sound like /f/.
- foto, graff, laff, ruff, filosofy, coff, troff
5. Remove silent GH
Respell OUGH as AU where it sounds like /au/.
- baut, faut, naut, aut, braut, wraut
Respell IGHT and EIGHT as ITE when they sound like /iyt/ and IGH as IE when it sounds like /iy/.
- nite, fite, fiter, liter, hite, slite (for slight and sleight), thie, sie
Simply remove other cases of silent GH and UGH.
- altho, thoro, boro, donut, strait, drout, bou, eit, freit, nei, neibor, wei, slei
Special cases: thru, broham (for brougham), doh, hi, hiway, hiland
6. Remove silent G and silent B
Remove silent G.
- naw, nat, nome, campain, colone, fein, dein, soveren, foren, rein, ensin, diafram
Replace GN with NE when the vowel is long.
- aline, benine, sine, impune (for align, benign, sign, impugn)
Replace GN with NI where it sounds like /ny/.
- lasania, viniette, coniac (for lasagna, vignette, cognac)
Remove silent B.
- dum, bom, bomming, thum, crum, det, dettor, dout, douter, num, lim, plumming, suttle, suttly
Special cases: coam, toom, woom
7. Respell EI unless the sound is /ay/
Respell root werds with EI when the sound is something other than /ay/, such as /ee/, /iy/, or /i/. This does not take precedence over the other rules (so friend loses its I because of rule 1). Note that iether and niether are spelled the same regardless of the pronunciation as /iy/ or /ee/.
Respell /iy/ as IE.
- fiesty, hiest, siesmic, rottwieler
Respell /ee/ as E if the traditional spelling has the form EIcv; otherwise, spell as IE.
- wierd, protien. lietmotif
- receve, seze, celing, codene, cafene, lesure (for US /lee zhur/, but UK pronunciation produces same spelling: lesure for /le zhur/)
Respell as I when the sound is /i/.
- counterfit, forfit, siv, kerchif, mischif, varigated
No IE werds make the /ay/ sound, so none are respelled. Likewise, compound werds and roots with suffixes don’t change.
- veil, sheik, wei, slei, etc. are still spelled EI
- herein, wherein, deism, theism, emceeing, blueish
Special cases: decete, recete (for receipt), concete, kalidoscope, stine, plebian, farmacopia